Gov. Roy Cooper announced an extra $40 million in coronavirus relief funding for North Carolina small businesses during a press conference today, as well as a new COVID-19 contact tracing app.
The relief funding will go towards things such as mortgages, rent, and utilities for small businesses that have faced financial challenges because of the pandemic, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – powering our local communities and giving back in so many ways,” Cooper said. “They deserve our support, and this new initiative can help them weather this tough time.”
Businesses can receive up to $20,000 in relief funding, provided that they have not received previous federal funding for the expenses they would request from the new relief money, according to the press release.
Cooper and North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen also announced a new app called SlowCOVIDNC, which will notify users if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The app will use Bluetooth to detect other phones that have downloaded the app, according to Cohen. If someone with the app tests positive for COVID-19, they will be able to input a randomized PIN number that will send an anonymous alert to app users who were in close range, Cohen said.
The app will not store or share personal information and is not linked to the user’s identity or location, only the time and date, according to Cohen. She also said the app does not use GPS.